day of a public relations professional is full of writing -- media
releases, memos to colleagues and bosses,
critical communications with clients, advertising copy, brochures,
reports, social networking, emails, phone messages, ad abundum.
So much of our success is
simply determined by how well we clearly communicate, that we owe it to
ourselves and our readers to buff up our abilities, preferably with
minimum pain and maximum gain.
Here are six sure-fire ways to
liven up your PR copy and keep your reader engaged. Even better, not a single
writing suggestion mentions the words grammar, spelling or punctuation!
Tip 1) Use resonant
flesh-and-blood characters rather than boring old nouns. If I was writing
a memo about sales, my characters would be clients and customers,
rather than projections and results.
Tip 2) Use action words that propel
your readers along. We love to see verbs that power us visually
from one place to another, rather than just sit there.
Tip 3) Perform the
8-word test. Keep your characters and actions within 8 words
of each other, so your reader can easily follow who is doing what.
The fewer words between the nouns and verbs the better.
Tip 4) Link
complex sentences and phrases with connectors to help your reader
navigate through the text. Good connecter words, for example, are however,
because of this, therefore, thus, and so on.
5) Lead your readers from old information (first) to new information
(second). Establish common ground in your message development, gently
nudging your audience from comfortable familiar territory into the
strange and new.
6) Use the Problem-Solution-Action paradigm. One of the most common
writing complaints I hear from my students is they don't know where to
begin. If you start with a problem statement, followed by a solution
proposal, and wrapped it up with an action plan, a memo can write
There you go -- give the tips a
try your next time writing an email, and see if your message doesn't come through easier
and more effective.
Be sure to watch the video
below to see the writing tips at play.
Best Business Writing Tips
taught MBA and undergraduate public relations, marketing,
communications courses for colleges and universities in the
United States and abroad for more than a decade.